Rehearse the way you heal

sad-depressed I am depressed.

I have just spent a whole week completely unable to get myself to work out. I have been eating like I’m stupid, so that I don’t even want to think about what my blood sugar has been doing. And I have been emotionally eating like I thought I invented the term.

Clearly, I need my meds adjusted.

You know, it’s a funny thing. I tend to be very much a left-brain sort of person. I know I’ve been driving my poor Kimmie crazy for years because whenever she tells me that she is battling depression, my first impulse is to find out what’s wrong and figure out how to fix it.

Only that’s not how depression works. Now that I’m experiencing it myself, I finally understand. I feel like I need to spend the next two years apologizing and groveling to Kimmie.

Because the fact is that there is no answer to the question “What’s wrong?” Not when you’re depressed.

Things couldn’t be going better for me right now.

I have finally gotten into graduate school after trying for three years. And this was my last try: I had already decided that if I didn’t get into graduate school this year, I would take that as the Fates telling me that I just wasn’t meant to pursue a life in academia. So it meant everything when I got that email from Rudi telling me that I was in.

Since then, I have received further word of the award of some fellowships and assistantships that will net me $24,700 in stipends, plus my tuition, student fees and health insurance taken care of. That doesn’t count what David gets in SSI every month and it doesn’t count the Ford Fellowship that I might also win. We won’t be quite as comfortably circumstanced as we are now but we will also be a long way from the paltry money we were living on when I was going to Hartwick.

That’s one thing.

My job has been going better these days than it ever was before. I’m not sure if people are treating me better now that they know I’ve been accepted into graduate school, or if I have somehow acquired some confidence at last (which is very possible). Whatever has supplied the magic, all I know is that I’m getting a hell of a lot done and I’m doing it well and everybody around me is seeing me do it and telling me what a great job I’m doing. I don’t like what I’m doing anymore than I did last month but I am finding it more rewarding and supplying more ego fodder. A nice way to leave … and leaving is only four months away.

I could talk about my wonderful kids or the fantastic man I’m lucky enough to have in my life … but I kind of don’t feel like it.

Of course things aren’t going perfectly but they are going really, really well. So what in the world do I have to be depressed about? Nothing, of course … but that’s not going to keep me from getting depressed.

See, depression is not something that you feel in response to stuff that’s happening to you. It’s not even a particularly sad feeling. It feels more like lethargy. You don’t care about anything and you don’t feel like doing anything, even things you know that you’d normally enjoy.

There’s no point in asking what’s wrong because depression doesn’t necessarily happen because something is wrong. There’s no point in exerting yourself to try to make the depressed person feel better, because the depressed person doesn’t really feel bad exactly. And trying to cheer them up is likely to get you punched in the face.

It’s kind of hard to explain. This is about the best I can do and I don’t feel like investing the energy to do better.

That, in a nutshell, is what it’s like.

Every day, I tell myself about the healthy meals I’m going to eat that will get me to my weight loss and blood sugar goals. Every night, I lay in bed fantasizing about the workouts I’m going to do. Next morning, there I am, eating like a fool and dragging my body around in such an excess of lame-ity that working out feels out of the question.

And while I’m not doing any of the things I told myself I would do, I’m also entertaining myself by calling myself all kinds of names for not doing them. There’s a good way to make myself feel better, huh?

So, knowing that the best thing I can do for myself when I don’t feel like working out is to work out, my current plan is to don the workout duds as soon as I roll out of bed tomorrow. I’ll do my workout early, before anybody else is out of bed (except Gina, because she has to work tomorrow). At the end of said workout, there will be a breakfast casserole waiting for me.

Sounds like a good incentive to me.

But if, on the other hand, I don’t manage to drag myself out of bed until 11:30 am, I’ll try to be gentle with myself. Beating up on myself serves absolutely no purpose. I will try not to eat myself into a hyperglycemic episode and I will sit tight until a week from Monday. That’s when I go see my doctor.

Then again, maybe I won’t wait. Maybe I’ll call her this weekend.

I’m thinking I would call this urgent.